Afterwards, we walked outside. The courtyard was empty. There was a Muslim woman standing in the center admiring the architecture. She was serene and beautiful. I turned and saw a woman sitting in a doorway. They were beautiful in the serene courtyard of the Blue Mosque.
We walked on to Hagia Sofia. It was beautiful in the lights. I wanted a couple of photos of the fountain and mom said she oils meet me on the other side of the park. I was captivated at the beauty of the parks.
In the morning, we went to the Grand Bazaar for some Christmas shopping. Mom had a list of items she needed to buy and we shopped for a few hours. I hate bartering but we did pretty well on purchases. Mom left with everything she needed and we went for dinner. She was leaving in the morning and this was my opportunity to see what her highlights were from the trip.
Mom- They are all so beautiful! But probably Croatia or Austria.
Michelle- nature- Lake Plitvices, most memorable- Auschwitz
Mom- Lake Bled, Ljubljana
Michelle-Mom's poncho in the rain! She looked like a walking condom!
Mom- falling in front of the bus!
Michelle- lamb chops!
Mom- Too hard to choose. She lived lamb chops, goose leg and pug knuckles.
Best hot chocolate:
Michelle- Dubrovnik, first hot pudding chocolate was one I will never forget!
Mom- all of them! Who can complain with hot chocolate!
I loved traveling with my mother and having her share in my amazing adventures. We have so many fantastic memories that make me smile. I realized what traits I inherited from her and how we are alike in some ways and extremely different in other ways. I am so proud of her for coming on this trip and enjoying it. Thanks mom!
I spent my final days in Istanbul relaxing and going to dinner with friends I had met in the city. I loved Turkey and Istanbul. I will return one day. Leaving Istanbul and thinking of my time in Turkey. The things that I think of when I think of Turkey:
•the best yogurt! Beats the Greek yogurt that use to be my favorite. Delicious, creamy and perfect with a little honey.
• Family. I have met people that took me in and treated as one of their members of family. Ethem at Ocak, Omer at Pamukkale, Turan and Halil in Istanbul. I have so much love and appreciation for their acts of kindness and willingness to share their cities and culture with me.
•Flag. The Turks are proud if their flag and I saw it every day, multiple places. Even when traveling to ther countries, I could recognize a Turkish family because they seemed to hang a flag outside their homes. Some countries did not appreciate this due to the years of fighting with the Turks throughout history. The national pride reminds me of home, USA and Turkey are the two countries I have seen the most flags flying. I will always recognize the Turkish flag.
•Lamb. Turkish know how to cook lamb. It is responsible for my love affair with lamb chops. Nom nom nom!
•Men. Wow! They were gorgeous and enjoyed flirting. Yes, 90% are full of it but the ones I met and spent time with we're sweet and romantic. If you single ladies are looking for a fun vacation where you want some male attention, go to Turkey. The men still treat you like a lady and open doors and want to take you out for dinner. They even insist on paying. Most will listen to you and ask about your life, help you plan what to see and show you their city. It is a predominately Muslim country so they are conservative in public and only kiss you on the cheek. I would tell you to be careful. Some our just looking for a "good time."
I left Turkey on December 9th with a heavy heart. It was difficult to say goodbye to a city I had loved. But, it was time to move on. I was flying to Paris for a 22 hour layover (yay!) then on to Atlanta for a 24 hour layover before arriving in Managua, Nicaragua. Yes, long travel time but I used my frequent flier miles and only had to pay $347!
Good bye Turkey...Bonjour Paris!